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Indonesian borrowing as evidence for Harmonic Grammar


This study uses data from loanwords in Indonesian to argue for a phonological analysis using Harmonic Grammar (e.g. Smolensky & Legendre 2006, Pater, Bhatt & Potts 2007, Pater 2009). In original data consisting of Arabic and Dutch loanwords containing initial and final consonant clusters produced by 24 native speakers of Indonesian, we find both deletion and epenthesis to resolve word-final clusters, while word-initial clusters sometimes have epenthesis and sometimes are tolerated intact. The adaptations of Arabic and Dutch loanwords reveal the influence of three markedness constraints generally observed in Indonesian (*Complex Coda , *Complex Onset , and MinWord), and support a role for phonology in the analysis of borrowing, rather than a purely perceptual approach. When native monosyllables and borrowed monosyllables without clusters are considered, we find evidence that a standard Optimality Theory strict ranking is inadequate to account for the data; these constraints must be allowed to ‘gang up’, as in Harmonic Grammar, to account for the deletions, epenthesis, and non-adaptations found in the data.

Corresponding author
Author’s address: Department of English Language & Literature, College of Arts, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2456, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
Author’s address: Department of Linguistics, University of Florida, Box 115454, Gainesville, FL 32611-5454, USA
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The authors would like to thank the Deanship of the Scientific Research at King Saud University for funding this research project. We also thank the audiences at the 2015 LSA Annual Meeting in Portland, especially Bruce Hayes, the audience at the 23rd Manchester Phonology Conference, and three thorough Journal of Linguistics referees for useful comments. We regret that we were not able to incorporate all their suggestions in this paper, and take responsibility for its remaining shortcomings.

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